Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Lu attacks media for reporting

THREE-PRONGED WAR News outlets' sensational coverage of Taiwan-US relations is to blame for recent problems, not the administration or its policeies, Annette Lu said

By Huang Tai-lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Frustrated over the media's incorrect news reports on Taiwan-US relations, as well as politicians' unsubstantiated remarks about President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) yesterday called on domestic media outlets and politicians "not to help Beijing fight its three-pronged war against Taiwan."

The three-pronged war refers to Beijing's strategy of using psychological warfare, the media and its legal system, with the aim to destabilize Taiwan.

"I think the result of Taiwan being exceedingly free has, to a certain extent, allowed Beijing's three-pronged warfare to take its effect [in Taiwan]," the vice president said during a press conference yesterday held at the Presidential Office. "We, our own people, ought to be careful and not help Beijing fight the three-pronged war against Taiwan."

Lu made the remarks with reference to the recent brouhaha concerning comments made by US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during an interview on The Charlie Rose Show on the PBS network.

After picking up the story days after the interview was first aired on Dec. 10, many domestic media outlets in Taiwan reported Armitage as saying in the interview that he "admitted Taiwan is `probably the biggest landmine' in Washington's ties with Beijing."

Opposition parties subsequently picked the story up and used it to pan the Chen administration. Opposition members slammed Chen for leading Taiwan onto a bumpy road in its relations with the US.

"[Armitage] was responding to an interview question asking him where the `landmines' in China's rise were. That was when he commented `Taiwan was probably the biggest,'" the vice president said.

Lu pulled out a copy of the interview's transcript to support her statements.

According to the transcript, the question which Rose asked was "Where is the -- landmines -- in terms of China's rise and the United States?"

In response, said the transcript, Armitage stated that "I would say Taiwan. Taiwan is one. It's probably the biggest."

"If you were to read it carefully from its context, it was clear that Armitage's statement on Taiwan being a landmine was meant to in terms of China's rise and not in terms of US-China relations," Lu said.

"Our reporters stationed in Washington still chose to use the most sensational term [in their reporting], which apparently turned out to be quite different from what Armitage really was saying," Lu said.

Stating her belief that the English-language ability of the Washington-based correspondents is better than hers, Lu attributed the reporters' interpretation of Armitage's comments to "a lack of consciousness about who the enemy is."

The vice president went on and expressed her views on recent Taiwan-US relations.

Lu said the fact that the president can't make a direct visit in the US is a major problem preventing smoother Taiwan-US relations.

"If there is tension in the relations between Taiwan and the US, it should not be left for the president to shoulder alone," Lu said. "Isn't the team, as well as the Washington-based diplomats, who for the past four years have provided information and suggestions to the president about US-related issues, responsible as well?"

"If we ought to review [Taiwan-US relations], the whole team needs to engage in self-criticism on this matter," Lu added.

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